I’m notoriously bad at the “work/life” balance thing. I’ve tried multiple different techniques and strategies. Each have had varying degrees of success, but all ultimately failed in the end. December and January were probably the worst two months in this regard that I have ever experienced in my entire career. I worked damn hard. 

In addition to being bad at maintaining any sort of work/life balance, I’m also terrible at delegating. It is, without a doubt, a massive flaw; one I would relentlessly berate any manager or owner for having. “You have to trust your team!” I’d yell. “Give them opportunities to contribute to the business and expand their skill set!” (Just because I can’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. Be better than me.)

Jaime emailed me this article this morning. It’s right. One person shouldn’t be doing it all, especially when they’re surrounded by capable adults that could be shouldering some of the burden.

Here is a brief sampling of the items on my Wunderlist:

1.) Draft business plan for Client X.
2.) Compile business expenses for Client Y.
3.) Financial workup for Client Z.
4.) Draft web content for Client X.
5.) Create social media pages for Client W.

Just looking at these tasks, I can see four that need to be delegated out. Client X needs to draft their own crap and have me proof it. Client Y can compile her own expenses so I can evaluate them. Client W can figure out the profiles herself and I can check it over when she’s done.

Client Z is really the only task I have that cannot be delegated. That is the task I need to be doing. Instead, I’m dealing with minute shit–like whether we should order from Office Depot or Staples. These things are not worth my time. My job, as a consultant, is to consult–not to run businesses for my clients (which is generally what I end up doing).

So let’s talk about you. What is your job? Are you doing your job, or are you doing your job and the jobs of ten other people? How are you managing your time? Let’s talk about why you (and I) need to delegate more.

1.) Your time and energy are finite resources that have to be properly allocated for maximum payoff. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until you understand it–if you are a salon owner and you’re working behind the chair, you are NOT doing your job. You need to be actively managing your business. (When you own a salon, you become a business owner–you’re no longer a stylist or nail tech or wizard. Deal with it.) With that being said, you can take your role as a manager too far and become a micromanager–which is just as bad as abdicating your managerial responsibilities because you’re so engrossed in the small tasks that you’re not directing your efforts to the larger projects that could yield a more beneficial result as a consequence of your involvement. If you’re consumed with tiny tasks–like whether to order from Staples or Office Depot–you’re wasting energy and time that could be better spent on something more important–like evaluating the return on your marketing investments and choosing where to direct the budget.

Understand what it means to delegate. If you’re assigning tasks and then micromanaging every aspect of that task, you’re doing it wrong.

2.) Your employees could use the boost to their self-esteem. How do you think your employees feel when you take a simple task from them? Give your staff opportunities to contribute. Treating them as if they’re incapable breeds resentment. Instead, empower them by giving them the opportunity to grow their skill set and showing them that they’re trusted and valuable. You have more important things to do than tally retail inventory.

3.) You’re not a superhero. Burnout plagues our industry. We work long hours, skip lunch, give up weekends and vacations, and perform a physically demanding job. Employee burnout hurts the salon, but managerial burnout destroys it. You need to maintain a balance. Your salon’s wellness depends on it.

4.) You must reinforce your position as a leader. Chill out, Alpha, we’re not talking about the process of asserting your dominance over the peasants in your employ–well, not entirely. I firmly do believe that a manager’s job (or an owner’s job) is to serve their staff, however, you aren’t their servant. Yes. There is a difference. A big one.

What kind of message are you sending by doing every task in your salon, from processing PO’s to folding towels? It is important to show the employees that you aren’t averse to doing what needs to be done–even menial tasks–but you shouldn’t be spending every day scrubbing toilets and sweeping up their hair. You have a much more important job to be doing. As your team, they help facilitate your availability to focus on the business.

You’re a leader. Act like one.

5.) You need to grow also. Business basics are relatively stagnant. Supply, demand, measure results, test, invest, blah blah blah–but business management frequently changes. New strategies pop up all the time. Hundreds of thousands of books are released every year on the subjects of management and marketing. As an owner or manager, these subjects are your field! Commit to keeping up! Managers and owners need to be reading at least six books a year on the subjects of management, marketing, or social sciences (I’m going to get into this more in another post next week).

Any time you spend doing something that doesn’t contribute to the growth of the business or your growth as a leader is wasted time.

If your menial tasks are recurring (and many salon operations are), you’re burning hundreds of hours every year on basic chores. Think of the ways that time could benefit your business if you were spending it doing something truly valuable! Quit focusing on the trees and start focusing on growing the forest. Start doing things that are worth your time.

Can you think of additional reasons to delegate, or do you completely oppose it? What are some things you could be doing to maximize your time? Let me know in the comments!

2 COMMENTS

  1. I follow your blogs and I love reading everything you have to say…its so informative. My question is, do you feel that if you are an owner to totally maximize your business/ time / efforts to capacity, do you feel you must at some point make the shift from doing any services in the business at all, to just running your business? And, do you have any tips on that transition? Thank You!

    • I’m glad you asked this question! I’ve answered that here. As far as transitioning is concerned, each person’s circumstance varies so widely, there’s no “one-size” strategy for accomplishing that, but I’m big on management. I think management is vital to a salon’s success, so I would recommend a cold-turkey, full on jump into management.

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